Canada Goose

Canada goose
Canada geese are larger than the similarly looking but smaller Cackling Goose form. There are 7 North American Canada Goose subspecies recognized.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) is one of the most iconic and recognized North American waterfowl species. There are 7 Canada goose subspecies, including the Atlantic, Interior, Giant, Lesser, Western, Dusky, and Vancouver Canada Goose, and differences are not easily distinguished because many geographical areas are integrade zones for one or more races.  Until 2004, the 11 subspecies comprising Canada Geese and Cackling Geese were all classified as “Canada Goose subspecies.” Now, because of genetic differences, Canadas and their smaller forms, cacklers, are classified as stand-alone species.   Typical Canada Geese characteristics include a black bill, legs/feet, head, neck, and tail feathers; a white patch on the cheek and breast; and an overall brown-gray body. In flight, a white horseshoe may be seen on the rump surrounded by black plumage. Sexes display similar plumage, and males are only slightly larger than the females. It has been observed that there is an east-west coloration cline: lighter subspecies are found in the East and darker subspecies are usually found in the West.